Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Abstract

The Dry Tortugas National Park, established in 1992, consists of seven keys approximately 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, and is an important habitat for a multitude of marine life, seabirds, and sea turtles. The two most common turtles in the park are the loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas). Loggerhead Key, one of the seven islands, is monitored daily throughout nesting season and is one of 36 locations designated as an Index Nesting Beach by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Under FWC permits, data is collected to document the distribution, seasonality, nesting activity, and abundance of each species. This research is also used for the National Park to record and compare sea turtle presence and nesting activity in the Dry Tortugas over time. While this data is available to park staff and other researchers working with the National Park, it is not easily accessible or understandable to the hundreds of daily visitors that come to the Dry Tortugas. To create educational outreach at the Dry Tortugas, a Geographic Information System (GIS) Story Map has been developed to encompass the sea turtle monitoring in this National Park. A diversity of photos and interactive GIS maps were used in the Story Map to allow the general public to understand how the National Park monitors, protects, and preserves the sea turtles within the Dry Tortugas. Other information including anthropogenic impacts and current conservation efforts were also added to enhance the educational and outreach component of the Story Map. The Story Map incorporates historical and current (2018) observations on nesting density, predation, success and distribution, which has been summarized, visualized, and presented in the presentation for year by year comparison review. This project was designed as an important tool for connecting the community to sea turtle conservation research

Comments

Department: MES

MPS Track: MCO

Location: Dry Tortugas National Park

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